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Wellness
Published Thursday Dec 19, 2019 by Sara Lesher

8 Tips for Improving Happiness (That Actually Work)

Personal Growth
Expert Advice
Motivation

Happiness—the seemingly simple concept that can often be so difficult to obtain. If you've ever found yourself on a quest for happiness or wondered how you can bring a little more smile to your life, here are a few happiness hacks to boost your mood!

Clean

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: this is supposed to be an article about finding happiness, not doing chores. But oftentimes, our living spaces can be reflections of our mental health. You may have noticed when you’re feeling extra stress in your life, your clothes and dishes start piling up. Of course, this leads to even more stress—it’s a vicious cycle. When you’re feeling unhappy, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is start scrubbing last week’s breakfast (or was it lunch?) off your pan, but trust me, you should. You’d be surprised how much your overall mood can change once your home is clean. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and productivity! (It’s the little things).  

1
Clean

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: this is supposed to be an article about finding happiness, not doing chores. But oftentimes, our living spaces can be reflections of our mental health. You may have noticed when you’re feeling extra stress in your life, your clothes and dishes start piling up. Of course, this leads to even more stress—it’s a vicious cycle. When you’re feeling unhappy, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is start scrubbing last week’s breakfast (or was it lunch?) off your pan, but trust me, you should. You’d be surprised how much your overall mood can change once your home is clean. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and productivity! (It’s the little things).  

Diffuse

The moment your house is clean, you’ll want to plug in your diffuser. Each of our senses is powerful in affecting our mood, and smell is an important one. Try using essential oils to help boost your spirit and bring out that beautiful smile!  We’re all thinking it—a spotless house that also smells ~amazing~ sounds like the perfect combo.

2
Diffuse

The moment your house is clean, you’ll want to plug in your diffuser. Each of our senses is powerful in affecting our mood, and smell is an important one. Try using essential oils to help boost your spirit and bring out that beautiful smile!  We’re all thinking it—a spotless house that also smells ~amazing~ sounds like the perfect combo.

Munch

Just like smell is powerful in affecting our overall mood, taste is crucial as well. I mean, how can you be sad when you’re eating good food? Cook up your favorite meal (and don’t forget to wash your dishes after), or if you don’t feel like messing up that beautifully clean kitchen of yours, go out for a bite. Bring on the dopamine and ditch those negative thoughts!

3
Munch

Just like smell is powerful in affecting our overall mood, taste is crucial as well. I mean, how can you be sad when you’re eating good food? Cook up your favorite meal (and don’t forget to wash your dishes after), or if you don’t feel like messing up that beautifully clean kitchen of yours, go out for a bite. Bring on the dopamine and ditch those negative thoughts!

Plan

Remember when you were a little kid and couldn’t contain your excitement? You’d stay up all night, too anxious to go to sleep. Think Christmas Eve or the night before Disneyland. That feeling doesn’t go away as an adult. Finding something to be excited about in the present moment is a great way to boost your overall happiness. Plan a trip, an outing, even just a quick happy hour with friends. Try to have something fun on the calendar to look forward to whenever you can, because the days leading up to it will be better too—discussing your excitement with friends, planning activities, outfits, etc. We all need something to be excited for! 

4
Plan

Remember when you were a little kid and couldn’t contain your excitement? You’d stay up all night, too anxious to go to sleep. Think Christmas Eve or the night before Disneyland. That feeling doesn’t go away as an adult. Finding something to be excited about in the present moment is a great way to boost your overall happiness. Plan a trip, an outing, even just a quick happy hour with friends. Try to have something fun on the calendar to look forward to whenever you can, because the days leading up to it will be better too—discussing your excitement with friends, planning activities, outfits, etc. We all need something to be excited for! 

Go...

Outside! Sunshine is nature’s medicine, seeping into our skin and making us feel good. But even if you live somewhere the sun doesn’t shine this time of year, going outside for some fresh air is great for your mental state. Get out of the office on your lunch break and go for a quick walk. Being outdoors is an amazing (and free!) mood booster. Grab your friends for a hike, bundle up and eat your dinner on the patio, or even just step outside for a quick fix. Cooping up inside all day is never fun. (Unless you found a new binge-worthy show. Then we understand).

5
Go...

Outside! Sunshine is nature’s medicine, seeping into our skin and making us feel good. But even if you live somewhere the sun doesn’t shine this time of year, going outside for some fresh air is great for your mental state. Get out of the office on your lunch break and go for a quick walk. Being outdoors is an amazing (and free!) mood booster. Grab your friends for a hike, bundle up and eat your dinner on the patio, or even just step outside for a quick fix. Cooping up inside all day is never fun. (Unless you found a new binge-worthy show. Then we understand).

Sing

Alright, you don’t actually have to sing (unless you're like me and just want to make your friends laugh), but at least listen to music. Yeah, we’re using another one of our senses—shocker! The incredible power of music not only brings people together and increases social connections, but can help us access any of our positive or negative emotions. If you want to feel happier, play a happy song! Tip: turn on some fun dance music while cleaning, it’ll definitely make it more enjoyable.  

6
Sing

Alright, you don’t actually have to sing (unless you're like me and just want to make your friends laugh), but at least listen to music. Yeah, we’re using another one of our senses—shocker! The incredible power of music not only brings people together and increases social connections, but can help us access any of our positive or negative emotions. If you want to feel happier, play a happy song! Tip: turn on some fun dance music while cleaning, it’ll definitely make it more enjoyable.  

Hug

That’s it! We can dive into the science behind human touch, or you can just trust me—a nice big hug can make you a whole lot happier. You’ve probably experienced this boost in your own happiness, but you may not know all of these benefits of hugging (hint: check out #4). 

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Hug

That’s it! We can dive into the science behind human touch, or you can just trust me—a nice big hug can make you a whole lot happier. You’ve probably experienced this boost in your own happiness, but you may not know all of these benefits of hugging (hint: check out #4). 

Sweat

For some, working out might fall into the same category as cleaning: things I really don’t want to do right now. Others might’ve already experienced the uplifting effects of getting their sweat on! Exercise naturally releases endorphins and the chemicals in our brains that lead to positive emotions (AKA norepinephrine and serotonin), so even if you hate your life during that cycling class, you’ll sure feel good after. If you don’t know where to start, you can find classes near you on Mindbody.io or the Mindbody app

8
Sweat

For some, working out might fall into the same category as cleaning: things I really don’t want to do right now. Others might’ve already experienced the uplifting effects of getting their sweat on! Exercise naturally releases endorphins and the chemicals in our brains that lead to positive emotions (AKA norepinephrine and serotonin), so even if you hate your life during that cycling class, you’ll sure feel good after. If you don’t know where to start, you can find classes near you on Mindbody.io or the Mindbody app

Sara Lesher
Written by
Sara Lesher
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Spoiled by the San Diego sunshine, Sara’s hobbies include beaching, hiking, concert-going, and brewery-hopping. As Mindbody’s marketing content associate, she naturally loves reading and writing… so if you have any book recommendations, let her know. And just between us: she’s committed to health and wellness but loves a good taco (shoutout TJ Tacos in Escondido).
man working out
Fitness
Published Wednesday Sep 23, 2020 by Sara Lesher

5 Things Instructors Are Doing to Improve Their Virtual Fitness Classes

Fitness
Virtual Classes
Mindbody Community

By now, we all know the benefits of virtual and online fitness classes, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about some of the struggles. To adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, studios and instructors all over the world had to get crafty, many with little-to-no experience with live streaming or recording workouts at home (so, if you haven’t, make sure you send your instructors a quick thank you—because they deserve it). Now that we’ve realized virtual fitness is here to stay—and we’ve all had lots of practice—the virtual experience is getting a whole lot better. 

Here’s what your favorite studios and instructors are doing to improve their virtual fitness classes right now: 


1.    Making classes easy to access 


Everything seems harder than it must be right now...which is why jumping through hoops to get into a class should be the last thing on your mind. As with most things, the simpler, the better (unless we’re talking about the actual workout). Studios are working on creating a one-button experience to join a class. You sign up, get an email, press ‘join,’ and you’re in. And if something happens with your WiFi and you end up getting kicked out, no worries. One button click and you’re back in, without even missing a circuit. 


2.    Quality video, quality workouts 


If there's one thing more annoying than not having easy access to classes, it’s bad quality and connection. We’ve all found ourselves in online classes where you literally can’t follow along due to poor connectivity causing instructors to freeze every five seconds. Or if it’s an on-demand class that doesn’t buffer, you’re stuck looking at a spinning wheel as your heart rate decreases at the worst possible time. Not fun.  

Now, studios and instructors are doing their absolute best to make sure they have top-notch WiFi and streaming services so we can work out without delays. Better cameras, lighting, and space setups are just a few of the investments instructors and studios are making to make virtual workouts as close to the in-studio experience as possible. 

3.    The sound of music... and the instructor’s voice 


For most, working out with music is a must. But figuring out how to balance tunes with the instructor’s voice can be a challenge. In the studio, they have state-of-the-art speakers blasting playlists throughout class, and oftentimes they have headset mics—all adjusted to the perfect volume so you can sweat to the beat, without missing a beat.  

But at home, it’s a little more difficult. Now that instructors have had some time to work on it, they’re figuring it out. Some instructors suggest playlists for you, others have mastered the perfect music to voice volume ratio, and some have invested in some high-quality mic setups for their home studios. In yoga instructor, Dani Schenone’s words, “Instructors are Jedi masters at the music-to-voice volume ratio at this point. When necessary, external microphones offer an amazingly clear experience. I record my classes and listen back, noticing any audio issues I need to address the next time around.” We’re getting there together, and again, thank your instructors. This isn’t easy. 
 

quality video quote


4.    Setup and prep 


With instructors improving their own spaces for filming workouts, we need to be doing the same as attendees. An instructor’s key to creating a good virtual experience is making it all replicable—creating a space and using equipment that’s realistic for anyone to mimic at home. If they're using weights, they should let you know ahead of time, and maybe even give some household items you can use as alternatives.  

Instructors are people too, and they know this. They’re coming up with tons of creative ways to make the experience easier for you, whether it’s propping up their cameras so you can see their entire setup and body, notifying you of equipment needs early in the booking process, or teaching classes that can realistically fit in most spaces. 
 

props quote


5.    Keeping us engaged—and motivated 


Have you seen the videos of teachers trying to keep their kindergarteners engaged over Zoom? Fitness classes are not much different. Signing up for group fitness classes means more motivation and encouragement, so we can’t skip out on the hard moves and cut our workouts short when we’re feeling tired. Instructors, though, have an interesting challenge—keeping that spirit up through a computer or phone screen. And right now (as always), they’re stepping up in several ways: 
    •    They’re always on time, beginning and ending class right when they say they will. 

    •    They talk through all the moves, so you don’t constantly have to be looking at the screen, and demo them at least twice in case you missed the first one.  

    •    They shout out words of encouragement and call people out by name, just as they would at an in-studio class.  

    •    They give tips and pointers for perfecting your form, even if they can’t always see you. 

    •    They have a positive attitude throughout the class and are consistent with their delivery, so we always know what to expect.  

    •    They’re our superstars, and we love them for it. 

 

mcalister quote


Shifting from IRL to virtual fitness has not come without its own set of complications, but let’s not forget about the struggles of the people on the other side of that screen. Our instructors are working hard out here to make these classes better because they genuinely care about our health, well-being, and sense of community.  

Virtual classes are here to stay, and they’re just going to keep getting better and better. Thank you, instructors. 

Sara Lesher
Written by
Sara Lesher
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Spoiled by the San Diego sunshine, Sara’s hobbies include beaching, hiking, concert-going, and brewery-hopping. As Mindbody’s marketing content associate, she naturally loves reading and writing… so if you have any book recommendations, let her know. And just between us: she’s committed to health and wellness but loves a good taco (shoutout TJ Tacos in Escondido).